Consumer confidence nationwide plunged.

The drop, spurred by the closure of 70 privately insured savings and loan associations, was the worst weekly decline in 30 years, a public opinion research firm said. Sindlinger & Co. said its survey found that the percentage of households expressing confidence in the economy slid to an average of 42% in the four days through Monday from 50.4% in the week ended March 11. The confidence level had been averaging 49.8% in the three days before Ohio Gov. Richard F. Celeste ordered the S&Ls; not to open last Friday morning because of a run on deposits at some of the institutions, Sindlinger said.

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